For two years, the Office of Customer Focused Government (OCFG) and Governor Haslam have tried to outsource all facilities workers’ jobs at Tennessee’s state colleges and universities. Outsourcing will endanger students’ safety, leave classrooms and the campus dirty and damage laboratories and research equipment. Campus facilities workers are experts at their jobs, but they risk losing their positions or suffering worsening working conditions and decreased salaries and benefits. The public has responded loudly and consistently: We are all against outsourcing.
We’ve rallied against outsourcing across campus and at OCFG in Nashville. Workers, students, faculty members, union members, administrators, faith leaders, local government officials and state legislators have joined us in our opposition to outsourcing.
People across the UT community have sent letters and petitions against outsourcing to UT administrators. Almost 300 faculty members signed a letter to Chancellor Beverly Davenport. Hundreds of campus workers and supporters brought a petition against outsourcing to the State Legislature in 2016. Hundreds of UT workers recently signed a letter against outsourcing and will deliver it to the chancellor in person. Faith leaders have written and protested against outsourcing. Local business owners who have worked with UT for generations will be at a loss if this plan goes forward; they too stand publicly against outsourcing. When the OCFG suggested outsourcing would bring savings, United Campus Workers showed that their math was flawed. The faculty senate also found that the savings claimed could not be achieved. Both the Student Government Association and the faculty senate passed resolutions against the proposed outsourcing plan.
United Campus Workers met with state legislators dozens of times during the 2017 session. Our allies introduced legislation to halt the outsourcing, but Governor Haslam called out his cabinet to force the diversion of the bills. When we forced the OCFG to open two statewide comment periods on the proposed policy, the tally was nearly 1600 against to 1 in favor. As the legislative session closed, 75 of 132 senators and representatives signed a letter asking the governor to postpone the outsourcing plan.
We’re not done yet. The decision is now in Davenport’s hands. But the campus community is united, and we want to offer her the message that we are all against outsourcing. Join us at the Torchbearer on Aug. 28 at 12:00 p.m. Help us convey our support for the chancellor to make the right decision against outsourcing.
Buyer, UTK Facilities Services, 16 years service
Beauvais Lyons, Chancellor’s Professor and 2017-2018 UTK-UTIA Faculty Senate President
Eduardo Miramontes, Class of 2017
Tom Anderson is a buyer for UTK facilities services who submitted this letter on Thursday, August 24. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.